How Do I Tell If a Breaker is Blown?

by Westridge Electric

4-star electric electrician looking at electric panel to see if breaker is blown

It’s almost the holiday season, and soon our homes will be filled with friends, family and fun. It’s only natural to feel festive while enjoying the sparkly lights and roasting turkey with your favourite jingle playlist blaring in the background. 

But what if you suddenly decide to throw one last load of laundry into the washing machine, and your yuletide cheer comes to a screeching halt? If you’re left standing in your house in complete darkness with no power, odds are you’ve blown a circuit breaker. 

If you’ve blown a circuit breaker, the first step is ensuring your safety and the safety of everyone in your home. West Ridge Electric can help you determine what happens next. 

Don’t Get Left in the Dark  

Your electricity is filtered through a central point in your home: the breaker panel. The breaker panel’s primary purpose is to deliver your household’s power supply.

If a breaker becomes overloaded, the panel automatically shuts off (trips) the breaker in the problematic area to prevent excessive electrical flow. Automatic shut-off helps prevent electrical fire or damage to your home. 

Blown circuit breakers are a common issue, but not everyone knows how to fix the problem. At West Ridge Electric, we want our clients to understand how to check and reset a blown breaker. Let’s get your holiday party back up and running! 

What Happens Next? 

We live in a busy world, and the majority of us are expert multitaskers. It’s easy to juggle many activities and tasks at home and accidentally overload a circuit. 

If you blow a circuit in your home, your breaker panel has shut down electrical flow to a specific area in your home to avoid overheating, fire, or any potential damage from occurring. Here’s how you can restore power to the site and get electricity flowing back to your appliances: 

  1. Investigate: Figure out which areas of your home have lost power. 
  2. Shut it down: If you were using a wide variety of appliances and gadgets when you lost power, unplug a few of them in that area and turn off the lights. If the circuit’s overloaded, you don’t want a repeat of the same problem when you restore power.  
  3. Take a look: Find your breaker panel and take a peek. Look closely for breakers that have flipped to the “off” position or are in-between “on” and “off.” 

If your breaker panel is labelled correctly, the breakers should match the areas in your home that are currently without power. 

  1. Use caution: Take a safety moment! Ensure you have dry hands and that there are no puddles or wet surfaces nearby. It’s vital to be cautious when handling circuit breakers or anything related to electricity. 
  2. Flip the switches: To restore power to the blown circuit, move any halfway tripped breakers to the “off” position, then flip them to “on.” 

If you don’t feel comfortable handling your breaker panel or are concerned for your safety, consult with the team at West Ridge Electric. We’re always ready to help and can walk you through the process to ensure your and your family’s safety.

Repeat Performances  

The great news is that if you are consistently blowing breakers, your circuit panel is doing its job. Circuit breakers are intentionally designed to trip; this prevents circuits from causing lasting damage to your home if they become overloaded.

However, if your circuits are continuously tripping, you’ll need to do some investigating to figure out the cause. Common reasons for consistently blown breakers include:

    • New high-energy appliances in the home: If you’ve recently added a new appliance to your household, unplug it.  If you go through the day without a tripped circuit, your new gadget could be the problem. 
    • Faulty or old appliances: Stop using your older appliances for a day and see if your circuit breakers remain un-tripped.  
  • Multiple appliances are running through the same outlet: Check if multiple high-energy appliances use the same circuit. 
  • Bad connections or loose wires: If you suspect your issues are due to bad connections or loose wires, contact a professional for advice. 

If you cannot identify the source of your problem, we recommend contacting an electrician to help you determine the cause. There are tremendous risks involved when working with electricity, and a professional can help solve the problem safely and efficiently.

4-star electrician fixing electrical panel after blown fuse

Repairs or Replacement 

Circuit breakers and breaker panels can malfunction, and you may require a professional to repair or replace them. When dealing with electricity, safety should always come first, and electricians can help restore your power and peace of mind. 

New circuit breakers can help by: 

  • Allowing you to run multiple appliances throughout the day
  • Protecting your electronic devices and appliances from electrical surges
  • Minimizing the risk of fire and injury from overloaded circuits

Contact the Experts

If you’re experiencing frequently blown breakers, it may be time for an electrical inspection of your home. Contact our friendly and knowledgeable team at West Ridge Electric for advice on your next steps. We can help keep your circuits in the “on” position and your household safe.

Call us today!